It’s another installment of everyone’s favourite series..
No, but seriously, I’m back with another post that will help you (student or otherwise), save time, effort and money in the kitchen.
Today I’m talking kitchen gadgets, because it’s difficult in this day age not to cook without them. Quite a lot of recipes require some kind of gadget, and there’s honestly nothing worse than getting all the ingredients for something and then quickly realizing (halfway through cooking) that you don’t have a spiralizer, and now you can’t have that healthy spiralised avocado pasta you’d got ready to make.
But with so many different products on the market, and not having a massive budget to splurge on loads of high-end cookery bits, which ones are the ones you REALLY need to invest in?
I bought a slow cooker in my second year of Uni from Lakeland. At the time, they were doing a deal on slow cookers so it was well worth the investment (£15 for a 1.5L cooker), as I still use my cooker 4 years later.
Slow cookers are so handy and super versatile. You can throw ingredients into the cooker in the morning (before Uni, if you’re organized enough), have a full day out studying, working, whatever, and come home to a perfectly cooked hot meal without the faff of spending hours over a stove after a long day studying.
You can make all sorts in a slow cooker, from breakfast dishes, to whole roasts and puddings (not in the same pot, obviously), its a no brainer. Believe me when I say that you (and your housemates, because you WILL have left-overs) will be glad of it.
2 – Food Processor £40-£50
Again with the versatility, the Ninja Master Prep Chopper set opens the doors to make a whole range of dishes and drinks.
I use my food processor at least 2-3 times a week, and honestly, I couldn’t live without it. I use it to make parmesan crumbs, smoothies, pasta sauces, blending up soups and making the perfect guacamole. You can even use it to make alcoholic drinks, milkshakes and slushes, to impress your friends at the next house party.
Much like the slow cooker, even years after I’ve graduated I still reach for my food processor week after week; what’s the point buying ready-chopped, ready-made foods when gadgets like this one can make cooking it from scratch easy (and often healthier) too!
3 – Silicone Egg Poachers £5
This is invaluable if you love a poached egg on toast for breakfast, or on top of a risotto like me.
I’m not even slightly ashamed of the fact that I have no real idea how to make the perfect poached egg. I mean, I’ve definitely given it a damn good try over the years but they turn out nothing like those perfectly formed ones you see on insta.. I could also never be arsed scraping egg-white from the pan when I did the washing up afterwards.
These little life-savers make it all so much easier, and for £5, it’s definitely worth the investment.
4 – Potato Ricer £8
This sounds about as ridiculous as the egg poachers, but seriously, if you’re a mash-addict like I am, this tool creates the smoothest mash and it isn’t an absolute pain in the arse to clean.
I remember an old housemate getting one of these in the first year of us living together, and it was a serious game changer. Gone were the days of trying to mash potatoes with a fork, or using one of those plastic potato-mashers but struggling to clean it properly because the slats were impossible to get a scourer into…
Anyway, if you like mash, this product is a must.
5 – Toastie Bags £2.14
Every student loves a toastie.
It’s perfect for breakfast and lunch (and maybe dinner too, depending on how you feel), it requires minimal washing-up afterwards and most importantly, it’s cheap to make.
I love to do this in winter especially, when paired with a soup – it’s the most perfect, no fuss meal ever.
6 – Weighing Scales £10.49
This one is more for the budding Bake-Off contestants, or for those odd occasions you decide to show off to your housemates and cook a giant Yorkshire pudding for everyone to tear into one Sunday.
You’ll find a use for this, trust me; you’ll procrastinate so much you’ll suddenly get really good at baking stuff.
Failing that, at least its handy for weighing out the right amount of pasta to cook!
7 – Pyrex Dish Set £16.49
There’s nothing worse than doing a pasta bake, or cooking something on a tray and then having to chisel the leftovers off for ages before washing it up.
Pyrex is awesome, its easy to clean and can withstand oven temperatures which makes cooking super easy. My housemates used to love it when I did a big pasta bake because they knew they wouldn’t have to worry about cooking tea that night, there would be enough for everyone.
Even if you don’t like catering for anyone but yourself, you’ll still be able to cook extra and keep it for leftovers afterwards. I bought my Pyrex stuff just as I started Uni and I still use it weekly. My favourite purchase was a mini lasagne dish, that was just perfect for making lasagne for two people (or for leftovers the next day); that was another popular purchase with my housemates!
8 – Tefal Frying Pan £20
Another ‘makes washing up easy’ item.
Tefal is a damn good quality brand, and it’s pretty cheap too depending on where you buy it (I get mine from TK Maxx). Tefal is perfect for all manner of cooking and all level of experience, whether you’re an absolute novice or a dab-hand in the kitchen, these frying pans can handle every masterpiece and mistake.
These pans are incredibly easy to clean, however you MUST be careful not to use metal utensils (i.e. knives & forks) on the pan because it will scrape off the non-stick coating and become useless.
9 – Silicone Cooking Tongs £6
THESE ARE ESSENTIAL.
Get rid of the cheap plastic set you’ve no doubt got your hands on, and get yourself some silicone utensils. The number of times I saw peoples plastic utensils half melted because they’d been left to rest on a hot pan.
I use silicone tongs almost every time I cook, for meat, pasta and veg amongst other things. They are long lasting, hard-wearing and, as with a lot of other things on this list, very easy to clean!
10 – Kitchen Knife Set £27.49
You can’t do much cooking without one of these, in fact, this entire list is redundant without them.
My housemates and I soon learned that a good kitchen knife is absolutely essential in everyday cooking; it’s impossible to chop, dice and slice things quickly and easily without the right tools.
Thankfully you can pretty much pay what you want for them, but I’ve used both Kitchen Devil and Salter over the years and they’ve been excellent.
I hope that you’ve found some use out of this incredibly lengthy list; I assure you, having some of these items ready when you move in will make your life way easier in that all you’ll really need to worry about is what your wearing each night of Freshers week.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t pick up ALL of these items, but just a few will help considerably; you’ll figure out what you really need as you figure out what you enjoy cooking.
Have you got any kitchen essentials that you think I’ve missed? Comment below and let me know!
Till next time,